Hello Kitty Night Light Gets Flashy Upgrades

See something in the world that sucks? As a person with hacker prowess, you view this sucky thing as a challenge to come up with an improvement and in some cases, an improvement that extends beyond what’s truly necessary but is just plain cool. This is what maker and father [Dan McDougall] did with his daughter’s light projecting Hello Kitty pillow.

kittypillow2As a thing whose one purpose was to shine bright starry patterns on a child’s wall at night, the pillow failed miserably. [Dan] Wondered why his daughter’s toy couldn’t live up to reasonable expectations all while sucking batteries dry, so he opened the large pink plastic casing in the center of the pillow to find a rather minimal board driving three very dim LEDs. The LEDs that faded on and off to create mixtures of different colors weren’t even red, green and blue either. The makers of the toy used yellow instead of the slightly more expensive blue color. Having none of this, [Dan] replaced these sad innards with an Arduino Pro Mini which he programmed to drive an old salvaged speaker and three bright RGB LEDs borrowed from the end of a light strip. For the unnecessary but cool part, he used the additional pins of the Arduino micro-controller to add four touch sensitive buttons on the outside of the pink casing. These small capacitive tiles made from copper tape activate sound and change the color of the LEDs when touched, making the pillow a lot more reactive than it was before.

The Arduino Mini board and the added components fit nicely inside the original pink casing of the pillow when all was soldered up and finished. With threefold ultra bright LEDs and a super strobe mode, his daughter’s Hello Kitty pillow is more of a disco ball than a night light now… but we doubt she will complain about the cool additions. To see the pillow in action and hear more about the upgrades you can check out [Dan’s] video below:

13 thoughts on “Hello Kitty Night Light Gets Flashy Upgrades

  1. Can we get a descriptive term or phrase beside “powered by” when talking about he kind of logic in a design? From the last year worth of HaD I get the impression we don’t need power plants, just a pile of (burning?) Raspberry Pi’s and Arduinos. Really, when I see ‘powered by’ I expect it to be followed by a battery or supercap or power supply circuit, or Mr. Fusion. To give decent credit, how about “programs by x are executed on y”?

  2. This is great. I just finished doing the same for my 6 year old son’s “twilight turtle” with an adafruit trinket and a small neopixel ring. The touch sensors are awesome. I would love to see the code for the sketch he is running, mine has some delay issues with the buttons I still have to work out.

  3. Well now you have not a single star projected, but three overlaying stars, which gives it a weird appereance.
    And just maybe they didnt make it as bright, because a little child plays with it normally.
    We have a similar toy, and you can see it quite good in the dark, especially after your eyes adapted to the dark.

    1. It’s not a “weird appearance.” It looks great. As long as Kitty is at least 5 feet away from the projected surface you won’t see much overlap. “The different colored stars are holding hands!” It’s PC!

    2. I had the same problem with a twillight ladybug because she wanted a pink light instead of the red one :-) first i tried a rgb led and was really not satisfied with the the 3 different stars there and also the contours were not sharp enough. I tried many different suppliers for leds over alibaba but couldn’t find one which is bright enough like the other leds in there – have to say the leds in this twillight ladybugs are really damn bright. But all in all she does love it, at least for a few weeks :-D
      But now what should i do with hundrets of pink leds???

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